The computers and hard drives stolen from the Brazilian state oil company Petrobras last month contained information considered a "state secret," according to the president of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.
"They stole software that was classified a state secret. That's something serious," Lula told Brazilian reporters.
He did not detail what was on the four computers and two hard drives taken from a container transported by the US contractor Halliburton. However he did reveal that Petrobras had copies and backups of all the equipment that disappeared on January 31st.
Police and government sources have said the stolen data related to the Tupi field, a massive petroleum reserve that could turn the country into one of the biggest oil producers in the world
"From a strategic point of view we want to know what really happened, because only three corporations in the world do the type of deep sea prospecting Petrobras is involved in," added Lula.
The hardware and software were stolen when they were on route from Santos in the state of São Paulo to Macaé in Rio do Janeiro
The daily Folha de S. Paulo reported that the initial police inquiries suggest that it could be a common container theft operation. The container was a ramshackle in complete disorder indicating that thieves were after "valuables and not only laptops", said an expert consulted by the newspaper.
"If it had been an espionage case, whoever broke into the container could have taken copies of the data and would have attempted to leave all in order with no trace of the furtive incursion."